WiFi Offload: why the time is right for mobile network providers

Posted on May 23, 2012

4G has become a hot topic in 2012, particularly with the launching of several prominent 4G-compatible devices from Samsung, LG, HTC, and others. However, Informa Telecoms & Media predict that 70% of mobile internet traffic is being carried by WiFi. Consequently, it has been suggested that massive investments in 4G networks should not be considered the be-all-and-end-all of the mobile data picture. As a leader in WiFi offloading, Devicescape believes that the two approaches must complement each other in order to provide the best service for consumers.

The development of upcoming 4G networks has received heavy investment as 3G networks struggle to cope with the rapidly growing quantity of mobile data-traffic. This is through no fault of the network providers; it’s simply a constraint of physics, and an increase in adoption of smartphones. Smartphones are set to outnumber the human population this year, and a finite amount of bandwidth can only support a finite amount of data.

Improving mobile networks is essential, but it is time to fully embrace the fact that they cannot operate alone. Users now expect immediate mobile internet access at will. For this to continue it is imperative that WiFi and carrier networks complement each other, allowing telcos to provide the best possible service to end-users, and reduce churn.

Devicescape has achieved offload rates in upwards of 40% or more where mobile data traffic is offloaded to public WiFi networks. With the huge reach of intentionally shared hotspots around the world, mobile network providers must leverage solutions such as the Devicescape Curated Virtual Network (CVN) of over 8 million hotspots to provide a higher and more reliable quality of service for their customers while achieving industry leading offload rates.

Mobile operators have no choice but to provide numerous mechanisms to handle the impending data tsunami. Public WiFi access is complementary to 4G networks because wide area access is a natural fill-in for local area access. With public WiFi becoming more ubiquitous, it is essential that mobile operators realize its potential, and choose the right WiFi strategy to complement their already strained networks.